MazTech Reward Ceremony 2014

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They did not try to win…

They just tried to be perfect…

Safe Journey to Team Galadari

Noise, Vibration, and Harshness

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It was on our thirteenth descent that I brought psychoacoustics into our conversation.
A little after 3 pm when I got a call from the service reception I had no idea what was in store.
“Arnold sir has some noise issue… Jerry couldn’t find anything… could you please…Arnold sir is …”
Jerry is our road tester.
I did not wait for the service advisor to complete.I was in the middle of a training session.
Soon I was on the road with a well dressed gentleman in his early fifties.
It was a strange complaint.
An abnormal whistling sound for a brief period from the front right side when the vehicle completes the steep descent from Qantab and enters the highway, after a tight 270 degree turn to the right.
The vehicle has to descend at 30 km per hour, the brake has to be applied and released once nearly 100 meters before the tight right turn, and, there it is, exactly when the vehicle enters the highway.
He did the descent four times, but could not duplicate. Then he asked me to try…
“Oh no… the speed was a little high… it is very sensitive to speed…”
We enter the highway again, take the exit after 3 km, come back to palace roundabout 7 km away, take 11 km up the winding road and prepare ourselves for another descent.
His wife had noticed it the first time the previous Thursday evening when they were returning after a party at the hill resort.
“no no no… you should not apply brake this hard… it has to be light… very sensitive to braking force also…”
Again the exit after 3 km…
“I tried many times… it does not come when my children are there at the back… there should be only two persons in the front… very sensitive to load on the front seat also…”
“no no no… you should not turn the steering this hard… it has to be smooth… otherwise it will not come…”
By the eighth descent I could gather enough information about the history of the vehicle.
Some noise complaints are difficult to verify… we know such noises will in no way affect the performance of the vehicle or jeopardize the safety of the passengers…
Moving vehicles make a lot of noises however smooth the road may be.The noise of engine and drive line will be masking these noises in most of the vehicles and customers will not be feeling them. When they change to vehicles with extremely silent engine, transmission and steering systems, they will start noticing noises which they never heard in their old vehicles…
And then there are customers like the one I was having… a user of Mazda6 for years. “It used to be like in a glider before…”
I too loved that trip down the mountains in a Mazda6. As the customer said “like in a glider…” and the 270 degree turn! The weightlessness you feel and the cool sensation you have in your brain and body when you end the descent and join smoothly the highway… it is pure ecstasy…beyond comparison… just the blink of the dynamic stability control indicators that reminds you that you are with a machine… how nasty a whistling noise can be then!
But where is the noise!?
He got the car back after an accident repair the previous Wednesday. The next day the noise!
The situation was not something new to me…customers being skeptical about accident repairs… customers developing an aversion towards the vehicle after accident repairs… a noise there… pulling to right (sometimes!)… hard to steer (sometimes!)…poor brakes (sometimes!)… all psychological… and most of them end up disposing their cars within a week or two…giving a dog a bad name and…
A little psychological approach was all that needed. Counseling? Sometimes there are no other choices.
“I could not find anything abnormal”
“No no no Mr….uh… Mr.Suju, my wife heard this first… I too heard it thrice… now it is not there!… I am sure there is something wrong!”
“I can’t find any abnormal noise… it may be just a feeling… ”
I started with a mild dose of psychoacoustics lessons, followed by more psychological treatment, taking utmost care that he does not feel it…
I let him have my headphones of the wireless chassis ear and play with the channels while I drove…again psychology… bringing him to my seat…
“So you say it is an auditory illusion!” he told in a tired voice and fell into a deep silence.
Three kilometers later when I put the indicator to right again, “no no no… I have an appointment at seven… already late…”
I left him at the reception and straight went to my trainees.
Later that evening…
“Sir,what you did with Dr. Arnold? He seemed a little upset after the road test.”
“Yeah… professor and head of the department of psychiatry at SMU”
“You could have told me that!”
“Told what!?”
I never told him what happened.
Dr. Arnold still uses that car. He never complained about the noise after that day. He recently took a CX5 for his wife.

A Green Mazda

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Green Mazda

A green Mazda!?


There are moments…

Rarest of rare

That make even a Mazda green… Green with envy…

Here is one


The saga continues…

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Mazda6 and CX5 stunned the world in 2013.

It is Mazda3′s turn now.

2014 WORLD CAR OF THE YEAR finalists announced.




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Two pictures… and a small poem
Not original
Pictures from news papers
Poem from memory, with a little support from internet…
I don’t remember where I saw it the first time.

Changed world

A souvenir

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This is the picture of a piston. To be more accurate, the number 2 cylinder piston of a common rail direct injection diesel engine used in a light truck. The truck is on the road now, with a new engine. I keep this piston in a small cardboard box, under my office table. I can flip open the box cover with my leg and have a quck glance at this piston from my seat whenever I feel like, without giving the slightest hint to the person sitting in my front what I am doing.

Why? Why I keep this under my table??

It was a simple complaint of engine not cranking. Looked like hydrostatic lock. Removed injectors. No liquids. But the engine became free. The problem was with number 2 cylinder. An endoscope gave a clear image. The deformed piston was contacting the injector tip just before its upward stroke ends and it was preventing the further rotation of the crankshaft. If the rotation is reversed now, it will be fine for another 360 degrees.

I was seeing a piston like this for the first time.

Excessive combustion temperature in cylinder number 2.

Excessive heat generation? Or, failure of cooling system to carry away heat from number 2 piston?

We decided on excessive heat generation… a defective injector resulting in incorrect combustion and subsequent overheating…

Why injector?

It was a common rail type… the fuel pressure reading was correct… pump flow control valve was working perfectly…no problems with the injector control circuit… fuel pipe from fuel rail to injector was in good shape, rail… it was just a pipe to me… We did not have the facility to test an electronic injector…

The injector was replaced with a new one. New piston, connecting rod , bearings…

400 km later the engine stopped again. To my horror it was the same problem in number 2 cylinder…

First ever misdiagnosis in engine mechanical in my career… there had been a few in NVH issues, in elecrical and electronics systems… but nothing as humiliating as this…

Time flies. I changed my table top calendar many times after that incident.

There are instances when I feel extremely proud of my skills in technical training, diagnostics, failure investigations… then, I will return to my seat… flip open the cover of the cardboard box… and my pride evaporates like a drop of spirit on a hot exhaust manifold.

International Consumer Electronics Show 2014

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Mazda to exhibit Mazda Connect, its next generation car connectivity system at ICES

International CES

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